You can discover many of the best Egyptian movies that are worth seeing and appreciating by searching the more than 100-year-old Egyptian cinema collection. For more than a century, Egyptian cinema has influenced the culture of millions of Arabs, making the Egyptian dialect the most common in the Arab world. Egyptian films provide a window into the stories, difficulties, ambitions, and hopes of Egyptian society. Egyptian filmmakers have created stories that truly connect with local audiences, portraying the nuanced details of Egyptian life, traditions, and societal changes.
A List of the Best Egyptian Movies on Netflix
You shouldn’t skip watching the most significant and best Egyptian movies if you want to understand Egyptian culture in every aspect. Fortunately, Netflix has revolutionised how we consume media today by delivering a huge selection of films from around the world to our screens.
Sleepless Nights – 2003
- Director: Hani Khalifa
- Screenplay: Tamer Habib
- Cast: Mona Zaki, Hanan Turk, Ahmed Helmy, Sherif Monier, Gihan Fadel, Khaled Abo ElNaga, Ola Ghanem, and Fathy Abdel Wahab
- Genre: Drama
The movie Sahar El Layaly (Sleepless Nights) is a great example of the way Egyptian cinema is able to express real-life stories that are both raw and poignant. Egyptian cinema has a unique ability to capture the depth of human emotions. This Egyptian film takes audiences on an intimate journey into the lives of four couples while examining their romantic difficulties, aspirations, and the connections between all of them.
The movie explores the complicated emotional lives of its characters, capturing their hopes, difficulties, and desires. It talks about marriage, cheating, desire, and other themes that, at the time, were taboo in Egyptian society. The exceptional performances given by the cast are what make Sahar El Layaly so successful.
Sahar El Layaly expertly captures the complexity of relationships through its focus on the lives of these couples, the on-and-off relationships between men and women, and the power dynamics in marriages. Overall, this film is a nuanced exploration of relationships.
Nawara – 2015
- Director: Hala Khalil
- Cast: Menna Shalabi, Amir Salaheldin, Abbas Abul-Hassan, Mahmoud Hemida, Rahma Hassan, Shereen Reda, and Ragaa Hussein.
- Genre: Drama
Egyptian films have a history of being acclaimed for their ability to present captivating stories that reflect the challenges of ordinary people. Nawara is an example of this genre, providing a moving and dramatic look at societal issues and the indomitable spirit of its characters. This Egyptian film explores the life of its title character, Nawara, and highlights resilience in the face of adversity.
The main character of Nawara, a young housemaid, faces the complexities of social divisions and societal inequalities in Egypt. The movie explores the reality that domestic employees struggle with, highlighting the difficulties they go through.
Additionally, the outstanding performances of Nawara‘s actors are largely responsible for its success. Nawara is compellingly portrayed by Menna Shalaby, who authentically conveys the character’s strength and fragility.
Beyond its captivating story, Nawara offers a powerful social critique of the injustices in Egyptian society that sparked the revolution in 2011. Nawara immerses viewers in the world of its characters, heightening the emotional effect of their journeys through expertly framed shots and exquisitely detailed texture.
I Love Cinema – 2004
- Director: Oussama Fawzi
- Cast: Laila Elwi, Menna Shalabi, Youssef Osman, and Mahmoud Hemida
- Genre: Drama/Comedy
The Arabic title Baheb El Cima means “I Love Cinema” in English. This Egyptian movie highlights the tension between art and religion while also capturing the spirit of film appreciation and its influence on people’s lives. Despite the presence of veteran actors like Laila Elwi and Mahmoud Hamida in the movie, the performance of the child Youssef Othman was the most astounding.
It portrays the daily life of a Christian family in Egypt, which consists of Adly, a religious fanatic father and strict teacher, and Nemat, a depressed artist and liberal Protestant wife who also struggles with her unsatisfactory sexual relationship with her husband. Besides, the whole story is told from the perspective of Naeem, their six-year-old son, who is in constant conflict with his father over his love for cinema because he considers it a sin.
Despite the drama and tensions, Baheb el Cima could be seen as a brave love letter to the cinema industry. It provides a captivating cinematic experience that honours the value of narrative and the enduring passion for the art form. Finally, it’s a good, bold movie that’s definitely worth seeing since it highlights a very dark corner of Egyptian society and the human soul.
Clash – 2016
- Director: Mohamed Diab
- Screenplay: Mohamed Diab, Khaled Diab
- Cast: Nelly Karim, Hani Adel, Ahmed Malek, Ahmed Dash, and Mai Al-Ghaity
- Genre: Drama/Thriller
The critically acclaimed Egyptian film Clash “Eshtebak” captured audiences with its intense and gripping story. The movie is set in 2013 against a backdrop of political chaos and protests in Egypt. Clash offers a unique perspective on what happened as it follows a group of people from various backgrounds who find themselves detained together inside a police truck.
The film masterfully examines the dynamics and conflicts between people who hold different political beliefs and affiliations, exposing the complexity of Egyptian society during this chaotic period. The crowded environment turns into a pressure cooker as the characters are forced to stay close together, exposing their actual selves and pushing them to face their prejudices and biases.
In addition to being an intense political drama, Clash also offers a profound analysis of humanity by focusing on people’s common difficulties and dreams in the face of social and political instability. The movie deftly switches between many points of view, pushing viewers to reconsider their own assumptions and judgements.
Besides its raw and realistic portrayal of Egypt at that moment, Clash immerses viewers in an intense atmosphere thanks to the strong performances of its stars. Also, the film’s cinematography and precise editing add to its authenticity by enhancing the overall tension and sense of urgency.
Clash is an emotionally charged and thought-provoking movie that provides a glimpse into the complexity of Egyptian society at a difficult moment. It is evidence of how cinema can bring to light significant social and political issues while inspiring audiences to consider the themes of common destiny and the desire for freedom.
Judgement Day (Yomeddine) – 2018
- Director: A.B. Shawky
- Cast: Rady Gamal, Ahmed Abdelhafiz, and Mohamed Abdel Azim
- Genre: Drama/Adventure
The story of Beshay, a middle-aged man who has lived all of his life in a leper colony outside of Cairo, is told in the touching and heartwarming Egyptian film Judgement Day “Yomeddine”. The film takes audiences on a unique trip as Beshay searches for his long-lost family and meets prejudices and challenges along the way.
Yomeddine explores themes of resilience, acceptance, and the need for a sense of belonging. Beshay has an unbreakable spirit and a desire to enjoy life to the fullest despite his disfigurement and societal stigmas. He sets out on a road trip across Egypt with his loyal donkey, meeting people from all walks of life.
Furthermore, the movie brilliantly strikes a careful balance between poignant and funny moments, showing how compassion and generosity can be found even in the least expected of places. It dispels common misconceptions regarding leprosy and highlights the struggles faced by those with the disease.
The powerful performances of Yomeddine‘s cast, especially Rady Gamal as Beshay, who gives an emotional and true representation of the character, serve as the film’s backbone. The movie also stars Ahmed Abdelhafiz as Obama, a young orphan who travels with Beshay and develops a strong connection with him over their shared experience.
Because of all of this, Yomeddine received recognition from critics, won awards and nominations for its authentic storytelling and compelling performances, and established a name for itself at international film festivals. Yomeddine is a great Egyptian film that encourages viewers to consider their own biases and prejudices while offering a message of love for our shared humanity.
Cairo 678 – 2010
- Director: Mohamed Diab
- Cast: Bushra, Nelly Karim, Nahed El Sebai, Maged El-Kidwani, and Bassem Samra
- Genre: Drama
Egypt’s thought-provoking and powerful movie Cairo 678 addresses the significant problem of sexual harassment in Cairo. The film weaves the stories of three women from various socioeconomic levels who experience harassment and choose to take matters into their own hands.
The movie analyses the psychological, emotional, and social effects of harassment as well as the shame associated with the victims via the stories of its three main characters, Fayza, Seba, and Nelly—played by Bushra, Nelly Karim, and Nahed El Sebai, respectively. Throughout the story, the support of one another gives the women a sense of security as they navigate their individual journeys and set out on a mission to combat the harassers. Cairo 678 explores the difficulties they face, the risks they take, and the power their united front gives them.
Audiences have been moved by the movie’s honest and raw portrayal of the protagonists’ lives, which prompts discussions about gender equality, cultural expectations, and the need for change. It exposes audiences to the harsh realities that women suffer in a patriarchal culture while simultaneously offering a glimmer of hope through the resilience of the characters.
Cairo 678 won acclaim from critics both at the domestic and international levels thanks to its skilful direction, powerful acting, and effective storytelling. The movie not only raises awareness of a significant societal issue but also exemplifies the tenacity of women who refuse to be silenced.
Destiny – 1997
- Director: Youssef Chahine
- Cast: Nour El-Sherif, Layla Olwi, Mahmoud Hemida, and Safia El Emari.
- Genre: Drama/Musical
At least one of Youssef Chahine’s films must be mentioned in any article about the best Egyptian movies. So, we choose the critically praised Egyptian movie Destiny “Al-Massir”, which follows the life of Averroes, the significant Muslim philosopher and physician who lived in the 12th century (portrayed by Nour El-Sherif). The movie focuses on Averroes’ struggle to reconcile his intellectual pursuits with the prevailing religious and political powers of the time.
Themes like intellectual curiosity, the conflict between logic and traditional beliefs, and the value of freedom of thought are all addressed in Destiny. It is a reflection on the fight for freedom of thought and speech that sheds light on the effects of censorship and the quest for knowledge. The movie challenges viewers to think about the value of critical thinking and highlights Averroes’ ongoing influence and his contributions to philosophy and logical thought.
Overall, the success of the movie is mostly due to Youssef Chahine’s direction, storytelling prowess, and the potent performances of the actors. Destiny received international acclaim, earning awards and nominations at various film festivals, including the Cannes Film Festival.
Sheikh Jackson – 2017
- Director: Amr Salama
- Screenplay: Amr Salama, Omar Khaled
- Cast: Ahmad El Fishawy, Ahmad Malik, Salma Abo Daif, and Maged El Kedwany
- Genre: Drama
One of the most recent and best Egyptian movies that have gained international acclaim is Sheikh Jackson. It is an engaging film that examines issues of identity, faith, and personal transformation. The film is about a young Islamic cleric who struggles with his faith after realising that he has a personal bond with Michael Jackson.
Khaled Hany (Ahmed El Fishawy), a devoted sheikh whose life takes an unexpected turn after hearing about Michael Jackson’s death, is the primary plot point of the movie. Khaled starts to doubt his identity and the rigidity of the religious path he has chosen because of Jackson’s impact on his own faith.
Khaled’s reflective journey through his recollections in Sheikh Jackson explores his fascination with Michael Jackson’s music as a child and the difficulties he experienced as a teenager. The narrative deftly blends the past and present, highlighting the protagonist’s emotional conflict through music and flashbacks.
Generally, the film’s powerful performances and good storytelling make it great. El Fishawy does a wonderful job portraying Khaled, expressing the character’s fragility and inner conflict. The supporting cast deepens the story and heightens the movie’s emotional effect. The film also presents a unique perspective on the crossroads of religion and popular culture, igniting debates on the complexities of religious identity in the modern world.
Asmaa – 2011
- Director: Amr Salama
- Cast: Hend Sabry, Maged El-Kidwani, Hany Adel, Fatma Adel, and Bayoumi Fouad
- Genre: Drama
The Egyptian film Asmaa, which examines the themes of compassion and social judgement, is tragic yet extraordinarily compelling. The film portrays the journey of Asmaa, a woman living with HIV, to overcome stigma and discrimination in order to find social acceptance.
The 2011 movie explores the lives of its main character, who is performed exceptionally by Hend Sabry. It addresses the social taboos and false beliefs around HIV/AIDS in Egypt through the story of Asmaa. It highlights the sense of isolation and mistreatment that people with this illness commonly face and emphasises the value of support, empathy, and knowledge in overcoming societal barriers.
Through the character, the movie manages to show the harsh realities of living with HIV while still emphasising the character’s inner strength. Asmaa’s stubborn spirit, need for love and acceptance, and unwavering refusal to let her illness define her are all highlighted in the movie. Also, the film’s sensitive handling of the topic, delicate performances, and honest storytelling all contribute to its emotional depth. It serves as a reminder that people have hopes, worries, and aspirations underneath the surface of disease or societal discrimination.
Thanks to what we mentioned earlier, Asmaa won praise from critics for its captivating story and sensitive treatment of a topic that is deeply stigmatised. It not only sheds light on the difficulties faced by those who live with HIV but also acts as a foundation for discussions on acceptance, tolerance, and the power of empathy.
In summary, a series of articles will not suffice to talk about the best Egyptian movies, and what we aforementioned is nothing but a drop in the sea of the long history of Egyptian cinema.
We have tried to present some of the distinguished Egyptian films that are easy to find on the Netflix streaming service. Do not miss these films that offer a new world with refreshing and thought-provoking stories.